The weather in the greater Reno/ Tahoe area has been less than ideal lately. Not enough good snow to justify breaking out the skis, but too much accumulated precipitation to return to the our mountainous projects.
We watch the weather report like hawks. If its not precipitating and above freezing, or at least close, its game on. When the weather gods decide to take pity on us, we seek refuge in the sandy, granite littered, hills of Doyle, CA. The majority of the climbing in Doyle is had on decomposing granite egg boulders. When the rock is solid, it yields bulletproof patina reminiscent of the Buttermilks. When its not, the phrase "heaping pile" comes to mind. Most of the climbs are on vertical or slabby faces in the V-B to V-6 range. This is great for logging tons of millage, but can leave the "crush" muscles woefully unactivated.
But, with a bit of exploration and a willingness to climb on some funky features that you might otherwise walk right past, some good hard climbing has been developed over the past few years. Here are two such climbs that we have developed:
This climb was established by my cohort Ty Fairbairn a few years back and I finally snagged the second ascent; [vimeo video_id="54567350" width="400" height="300" title="Yes" byline="Yes" portrait="Yes" autoplay="No" loop="No" color="00adef"]
The high this day was 23º F! I managed to fight through numb fingers on my third attempt and snagged this FA;
You may have noticed that I didn't propose grades for either climb. Grading has become a seriously nebulous topic for me as of late. But fret not! I won't be launching into a self-righteous diatribe about the subjective nature of grades and the need for consensus. For us it's a matter of not having others who have climbed in established areas recently to confirm proposed grades. So, we end up either not grading problems at all (which is usually the case) or end up referenceing a climbs difficulty by how long the project took us to complete. For example, the Cave Problem took me three days of work to climb, whereas Cryin Shame took almost five. If these climbs were down in Bishop, they would probably both be considered around the lower double digit realm. But they are not, and none of us have been down to Bishop recently enough to gauge our strengths. So, we are left comparing climbs that really can't be compared in order to arrive at a guesstimation of difficulty. It tends to be a much cleaner business entirely when we simply leave off the grades and let people tell us how hard they think the climbs were (which people tend to readily exclaim with or with out our asking). Besides, how do you put a grade on something that you onsighted in your approach shoes? V-Fun, that's how!
Leaving the grading to those who really care about such things enables us to focus on the whole reason we came out to Doyle in the first place; to hang out in the sun, move on some stone, and escape the wet.